Stith: Rock Springs High School at Front of Line for $200 Million in Construction Funds

Stith: Rock Springs High School at Front of Line for $200 Million in Construction Funds

Representative Clark Stith, R-Rock Springs, speaks during the morning session February 8, 2023 in the House Chamber. Photo by Michael Smith

ROCK SPRINGS – There will be $200 million set aside for high school construction in Wyoming and Rock Springs is at the front of the line to receive funding should the state legislature adopt a budget proposed by the Wyoming Legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee (JAC).

Rep. Clark Stith, R-Rock Springs, spoke to the Rock Springs City Council Tuesday night about the session beginning Feb. 12, as well as budget developments from the JAC that took place earlier Tuesday. Stith is a member of the JAC.

“Sweetwater County and Rock Springs I think did pretty well in this budget draft so far,” Stith said.

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Stith said $200 million was set aside for new high school construction, with Rock Springs, Cheyenne, and Gillette as prime candidates to receive new school funding.

“Rock Springs is … of those three, first in line. At least in theory,” Stith said.

A new high school for Rock Springs has long been a goal for Sweetwater County School District No. 1 as the current high school is considered overcrowded and is near the end of its useful life. Outgoing Superintendent Kelly McGovern and the district’s board of trustees have presented large amounts of evidence underlining the need for a new school. The new high school is projected to cost approximately $160 million, though not all the money set aside under the JAC’s budget proposal could be used to fund construction. The district would need to find ways to build nonessential facilities such as a swimming pool.

“It seems like a lot of money, but in five years, if we got the funding now, in three to five years, you got a new building,” Dan Selleroli, the school district’s facility manager said during a school board meeting October 9, 2023.

Other aspects of the proposed budget will impact Rock Springs. Western is set to receive $1 million under the proposed budget, which could be used to seek additional grant funding. Also, If approved, cities will have $800,000 to apply for which can match with $2.4 million of federal funding that can help with infrastructure needs such as the Rock Springs Bitter Creek restoration project.

The budget proposed by the JAC is more frugal than what was proposed by Gov. Mark Gordon, spending approximately $31 million less than his recommended budget.